26 September 2023

Going Dry In July

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By Christine Salins.


Better Beer

You’ve no doubt heard of Dry July, a fundraiser that encourages people to go alcohol-free for the month, with the aim of raising money for people affected by cancer. Since the first campaign in 2008, more than $82 million has been raised.

The campaign has coincided with a growing interest in low- and no-alcohol wines, as people seek to make mindful choices regarding their health and wellbeing. Many venues and bottle shops now offer a wide selection of non-alcoholic alternatives to appeal to the ‘sober-curious’.

In the spirit of Dry July, this week’s column looks at alcohol-free beverages, with something to cater for all tastes, whether it be a no-alcohol beer, wine or cocktail.

Little Drippa

There’s no doubt about it – alcohol-free beer has come a long way in recent years, and if you haven’t tried any for a while, you might be surprised at how good they are. Every beer in the NORT range is 99% sugar-free, vegan and under 60 calories – it claims to be the lowest calorie Australian-made non-alcoholic beer in the country.

Brewed in Newcastle using 100% green energy, NORT has four varietals. Thirst-quenching Refreshing Ale is golden with a fruity aroma and crisp, clean finish. Tropical XPA is bursting with pineapple, mango and citrus aromas and a frosty haze.

All Day IPA has a malt profile that allows it to look, smell and taste like a full-flavoured IPA, while Pacific Ale has passionfruit and tropical aromas with a golden haze and light sessionable body. NORT is running a competition throughout July on its website, giving away a case of beer every day to participants who share their goals.


The fast-growing Better Beer Company, run by a group of Aussie comedians, produces several low-alcohol beers in Griffith NSW but it’s the Better Beer Zero Alcohol Lager you’ll be wanting to drink during Dry July. This crisp and refreshing beer is produced using a vacuum evaporation method which keeps the beer tasting like, well, beer. You can order this online through Jimmy Brings.

The trailblazing Athletic Brewing Company, which claims to have 50% of the U.S. craft non-alcoholic beer market, entered the Australian market two years ago with its Upside Dawn Golden Ale and Run Wild IPA. Both beers have won numerous awards. This was the first brewery and tap room fully devoted to the production of non-alcoholic craft beer in the U.S.


As far as cocktails go, you could go for a classic G+T minus the G, with Gordons 0.0 Alcohol Free. Available from Jimmy Brings, it has the bold, juniper-led flavours you’d expect from Gordon’s Gin and works well with all your favourite mixers.

For those who like the caffeine-hit of an espresso martini, go dry with Little Drippa, a cold extracted coffee which allows you to enjoy a fresh crema in cocktails, without fiddling with a coffee machine. Every bartender’s best-kept secret, it’s available online from HairyDog.

If you’re feeling the cold, transport yourself to a tropical island with Nocktail, a ready-mixed non-alcoholic cocktail in mojito, strawberry daiquiri, and mai tai flavours. They use stevia, a natural sweetener, and are available in 4-packs from Dan Murphy’s.


Launching just in time for Dry July is Polka’s De-Alc Dry Red wine which blends South Australian Shiraz, fermented in French oak, with natural extracts from Tasmanian Pepperberry. It drinks akin to a medium-bodied red like Malbec, Merlot or Gamay and has notes of vanilla, oak, plum, pepper and cherry.

Using extraction methods and processes previously unseen in traditional and non-alcoholic winemaking, Polka produces a range of dry and sparkling De-Alc drinks including Sparkling cuvée with wild harvested native Lilly Pilly, Sparkling Rose made from the native botanical Davidson Plum, Blood Orange Italian Aperitif, and a refreshing Pink Grapefruit Botanical Spirit. Available in stores and online from polkadrops.com.au


For savvy wine drinkers, pour a glass of Paradox Sauv Blanc Zero Alcohol, with hints of tropical passionfruit that transport you to a sunny island during Dry July. Pair it with a dish of prawn linguine and you’ll really set the scene. Available from Jimmy Brings.

And finally, for something truly unique, innovative Melbourne producer, NON, makes a range of seven non-alcoholic drinks that are so unique they are hard to categorize – they’re designed to pour like a wine and match with beautiful food but they don’t have a skerrick of alcohol, nor are they just a simple softdrink/mixer.

They are made from real fruits and real ingredients that are individually processed using kitchen techniques then blended in inspired combinations. NON’s new Everyday Set is a collection of three interesting flavours: NON1 (Salted Raspberry & Chamomile), NON3 (Toasted Cinnamon & Yuzu) and NON7 (Stewed Cherry & Coffee). The set is available online at NON World or from David Jones.

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